Featured Photog: Emily Burke

Meet this week’s featured photog:

Emily Burke

Emily Burk Photography

Fan Page : Site

Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences and include a picture of yourself.

I got married last September, and my husband and I live and work in NYC and Denver, CO. I became interested in photography 10 years ago as a sophomore in high school, and have been obsessed ever since.

What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?

I shoot with the Canon Mark III and my favorite lens is the 135mm 2.0. I love the soft, creamy bokeh I get with that lens, and I love photographing people from a distance… it helps me evoke real emotion and connection vs. posed smiles.

When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?

I started taking pictures in high school. I got a Canon Rebel for my birthday and started taking black and white film photos of my friends. I took some classes in high school and knew in my senior year that I wanted to major in photography. I received a BFA in photography from SUNY New Paltz. I had a bunch of internships while in school for wedding photographers, newspapers etc. Right after graduated I got a job with the NY Daily News as a photo editor and freelance photographer for a couple of years. It was a great job but after a while I realized news photography wasn’t my passion and I really wanted to be working with kids. Last May, I quit that job and put all of my energy into becoming a portrait photographer.

Are you formally taught or self taught?

Formally taught with a LOT of self-teaching. School only took me so far. I learned most of what I know about light and processing from online forums, internships, co-workers and the help of other photographers.

What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?

I specialize in maternity, newborns and family photography. In college I always photographed kids. Last year when I quit my job, I had been planning on photographing mostly kids. Somehow, newborn and maternity clients found their way to me and I am totally in love with these sessions now. But I would pretty much photograph any person at any age, as long as I have good light and a beautiful place to shoot in:)

How many sessions are you shooting a month?

Probably about 10-15 depending on the season.

On average how long to do you spend editing each session and do you listen to music while editing or just enjoy the quiet?

Ugh I hate this question. I had to admit to myself or others how long I spend editing… probably around 6-8 hours (disaster!) I am obsessive about it.. I need to become faster. I am almost always editing to country music.

What is your favorite part of the process? Shooting, editing, etc.

My absolute favorite part is finishing a session, going through my photos and finding one (or hopefully more than one!) that takes my breath away. I really love the whole process though.. shooting, editing, sneak peeking, making my clients happy.. etc. It is all so rewarding.

What is the best marketing tool that works for you or was a total waste of time?  Do you advertise in print?  Do you offer referral bonuses?  If yes, please share a little.

Facebook, Google and referrals are my best marketing tools. I have never paid for any advertising and don’t plan to anytime soon.

What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?

I don’t think about standing out. My process is very simple. I look for pretty environments and yummy light. I don’t worry or obsess about being different- I just shoot what makes me happy.

What do you do to help a client come out of their “shell” during a session?

I think I am really weird. Lol.. maybe even more so on a shoot than in real life- must be all the anxious energy leading up to the shoot. I think it loosens them up! I always end up chatting it up with my clients within a few minutes.

What do you struggle with the most?

My biggest struggle is finding the restraint to not post every image I love on facebook  hehe. I also get very nervous right before shooting.. I need to learn to relax more.

How did you find your style? Any advice to new photographers on how to find their own style?

I think when you shoot A LOT it evolves over time- you start to see patterns, and you start to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?

Sally. This image has everything I love – filtered backlight, a little bit of sunflare, a gorgeous model and winter colors- I loveee the blue/pink tones I get when I shoot in the winter.

Can you show us your shooting space?  If you are shooting inside can you show a simple pull back shot or lots of images if you have a large studio.  If you shoot on location please share an image of you favorite location.

For newborn sessions, I almost always travel on-location to my clients. For other sessions, Central Park is my playground. I’ve also been spending a lot more time in Denver and I have a lot of exploring to do there as well. All of my favorite outdoor locations are based around soft, filtered backlight.

Is there anything you would like to promote?  Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.

Nope… I simply love shooting and editing and have no plans to teach or mentor.

Please share an image of your Prop stash!  This doesn’t have to be an organized space just an image showing off your addiction.

I recently sold about 45 items from my newborn stash so here is the “whittled” down version after moving two weeks ago.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new photographer?

Don’t try to skip steps. If photography was easy, everyone would be a professional- it takes a long time to figure it all out. Don’t charge until you have your business in order and look to online forums for help!


More of Emily’s beautiful work:

Thank you for sharing with us, Emily!

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Niina - September 14, 2012 - 10:11 am

Breathtakingly beautiful and timeless! The tones are so soft and the light is so beautiful in every image

Taryn Boyd - September 14, 2012 - 1:36 pm

Amazing amazing feature!! Love Emily’s work! Thanks for featuring her!

Pat Cerami - September 14, 2012 - 4:42 pm

You’re pictures are absolutely beautiful. Best of luck with your career.

Deb - September 14, 2012 - 6:02 pm

An absolutely amazing photographer! These photos are stunning!

Linda Burke - September 14, 2012 - 6:11 pm

It is awesome to watch the growth of someone who loves what she does. And Emily truly does. This is obvious in her work and her enthusiasm for what she does. Part of the secret to her success is her amazing personality. She brings out the best in people.

johnny serrapica - September 15, 2012 - 11:51 am

very good you dad is so proud of you as am I in knowing you. Keep up the great work, johnny

Sandra Skogen - September 17, 2012 - 3:20 pm

Absolutely inspiring…I have always admired your work! Thank you for sharing a little piece of you…

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